Avery opened in June 2010. It’s a shop dedicated to niche scents, and as there aren’t many such shops in London (apart from the big department stores), it’s a very welcome addition to the capital’s perfume community.
The name is taken from Avery Row, where the shop is situated, which is a short pedestrianised passage south of Brook Street. The similarity of ‘Avery’ to ‘aviary’ provides the shop’s whimsical presentation. The window displays are caged enclosures with perfume bottles on perches; there are artificial birds ‘flying’ in the interior, and birdsong trills in the background. Perfumes can be sprayed on black feathers (a surprisingly effective way to get an impression of a scent), although traditional cardboard strips are available for those allergic to feathers.
Inside, you’ll find a ‘home’ area, with a wall created from the slate roof of a Welsh farmhouse, a butler sink, a chair, and a counter with kettle and coffee.
At the other end of the space, there’s an amazing modern rococo chest of drawers, with tester bottles arranged on top. If there seem fewer bottles than you might expect, that’s because there’s a wider selection in the drawers. The idea is to explore the scented world, with help from the knowledgeable assistant.
The knowledgeable assistant today is Terence, and he really knows his stuff. He’s One of Us, a perfumista who knows everything that’s happening in the perfume world. (He confides that he’s heard that Byredo are considering opening a London shop. We get very excited.) He points out something about Avery’s collection that I hadn’t twigged — there’s a heavy focus on Italian lines. This, he explains, is because the owner is Italian. Hence the Nasomattos, the Carthusias, Profumi del Forte and I Profumi di Firenze. I also spotted some Vero Kern, and they’re expecting Boadicea the Victorious, Esteban, and So Oud.
Brands (in addition to those mentioned): Andree Putnam, Boellis, Morgan le Fay, Nez a Nez, Stillyness, The Hype Noses.
Getting there: Avery Fine Perfumery, 27 Avery Row, Mayfair, London W1K 4AY; website.
Nearest tube station: Bond Street or Oxford Circus
Nearby: There’s a branch of Jo Malone around the corner; also a tiny Penhaligon's, and Fenwick department store. Handel House Museum was the home of the baroque composer George Frideric Handel. It was here that he wrote Messiah, Zadok the Priest and Fireworks Music.
See also: Perfume Shopping in London
— images & report filed by Nina, except top image which is courtesy of Avery.